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How do you say no?

Posted by Mary Ann P.

I'm the world's worst to over commit myself. You know, bake cookies for the bake sale, chaperone a class trip to the capital or take care of your neighbor's pets while she's on vacation. How do you decide what's enough? How do you turn down them down?
Answers (4)
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Good question. I find I have the same problem, though I'm getting better. First, you have to ask yourself why you feel the compulsion to say "yes" all the time. Is it because you're afraid of hurting people's feelings? Or because you're afraid they'll stop liking you? Ask yourself before you commit: Is this really something I want to do? Do I have the time or the energy to commit to it? Chances are--if you are overcommitting, you probably don't want to be doing what it is you've agreed to in the first place, which means you are neither serving yourself nor the people you have agreed to help. Only when you're there a hundred percent can you truly be of assistance--not when you feel compelled to by obligation. Practice makes perfect. You may want to play with the notion of saying no before actually going out and doing it. Ask a friend to make a series of requests to you, so you can practice saying no. A firm but gentle "no" is enough, and please don't feel the need to justify yourself with a multitude of reasons. For example, if your friend asks you, "Can you please watch my dog this weekend, as I'll be away?" you can simply say, "Actually, I have plans, so I won't be able to." Prefacing your no's with too many apologies or reasons can be another way to bog you down in feeling bad when you really have no reason to. After all, saying "no" sometimes doesn't mean that you won't be available for your loved ones in future.
Have lots of tasty, healthy treats around. If you have your own delicious treats around, you will be less likely to be tempted by naughty treats that are going to make you feel bad and lack energy. Some raw chocolate with xylitol is an example of a tasty treat that is extemely good for you. If you can't find it at your local health food shop, look online.
I'm not just a people pleaser by nature!. I am not nor have I ever been a people pleaser. I honestly wonder if it has something to do with my astrology sign (Aries). I have a personality type where I just don't give a crap if someone is disappointed when I say no. If someone tries to give me a guilt trip, then that will totally backfire with me. I'll actually say "don't guilt trip me, it never works" and people are usually so surprised. (You have no idea how many people utilize the guilt trip in their daily lives.) Over the years I've found that people find me frustrating at a minimum or selfish at worst but once again...I have a personality type where I just don't care!! I wish I could give some of that to other women, since they obviously need it. It has certainly saved my life when it comes to setting proper boundaries with my chronic fatigue syndrome.
surprisingly.... I just started practicing saying no, and am still not very good at it, but am getting better. When I started (by forcing myself to remember self-care comes first), I found an surprising result...people were not hurt, or disappointed, but rather impressed and told me they admired me! It seems a lot of people have this dilemma, and it is refreshing to see someone who has good boundaries. Now, this reminder will be my motivator to say "no" more often.
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